If you're trying to promote your product to the world and grow your business, you have no choice but to market to audiences on mobile devices. This is where your customers are, as mobile usage is now surpassing that of "fixed Internet access" worldwide. Whether it's mobile banner ads, ads that appear in video games, or QR codes, there is no shortage of methods for getting the word out to mobile consumers.

Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is another one of these methods. It's a low-cost, high-return marketing system that uses text messaging to convey content or offer it to customers. There are many reasons to try it out, from it's relative low starting cost, to the fact that the vast majority of texts are actually opened and read to some extent. When used successfully, it creates an effective platform for communicating with mobile customers. Below are some of the most effective SMS tactics I have seen that can help boost response rates.

1.) Offer incentives.

Tempt your customers by offering coupons or deals through texts for those who subscribe to your SMS business. This makes customers feel like they are a part of a secret club or community.

2.) Keep your message short and sweet.

Over 90 percent of all SMS messages are read within 3 minutes, making it an intimate way to connect with your customers. With only 160 characters to use, ensure your message is to-the-point and delivers high value so your customer is motivated to respond positively.

3.) Have a clear call-to-action.

Two factors drive an SMS campaign: the keyword and a short code. If you want customers to take part in a campaign that has them text your keyword to a five digit number (your short code) make sure those two items stand out and aren't buried in the message.

4.) Integrate MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service)

If you have a hard time with the 160-character limit, use MMS to send video clips or images to your customers. You can even include YouTube URLs, giving your customers a visual about your business.

5.) Make contests interactive.

When customers enter a contest or opt in, include your website or social media links in your automated reply. It's a simple and quick way to connect customers to your various pages, enticing them to click on the links.

6.) Encourage your customers via texts.

Text messages can prod your users to share your social media links. The best advertising is by word of mouth, and award your top referrers with a special deal or freebie product.

7. Create a sense of urgency.

Including some sort of expiration date encourages customers to respond faster, helping you achieve results or gain information as quickly as possible.

8. If texting an offer to your customers, make it exclusive.

Include the fact that the deal is being offered to all VIP text customers and make them feel like they are a part of something special. If the offer were available to anyone, then being a subscriber becomes less appealing.

9. Use your texts as hooks to your social media.

Promote any contests or sweepstakes you're offering on your social media pages through the texts you send your customers. You can engage them further through those pages, but use your texts to direct them there.

10. Ask questions or send surveys.

Ask customers their opinion on a product or idea, or even if you should launch a business page on a new social media platform. Once you have results, text them to your customers or post the results on one of your social media pages and direct your subscribers to it.

11. Send a text as a follow up to an email.

Your customers generally receive both of these messages on their mobile device these days, boosting response rates and engaging them in conversation.

12. Send texts at the right time.

Aim for times your customers won't be busy, like before or after work, or during lunch hours. As a general rule, don't send texts before 9am or after 9pm.

13. Engage a younger audience.

18-49 year-olds have grown up with various mobile devices, and are more active texters than baby boomers.

14. Ask customers about their preferences.

Inquire as to when they would like to receive messages and what kind of information they want. Then simply customize your SMS program to suit their wants.

15. Personalize the texts.

Customers respond more to materials addressed directly to them, so insert your subscribers' name when you can. You can also target your customer with more relevant texts based on their preferences.

Like any method of marketing to your customers, the more time you spend honing your skills, the more interaction you will illicit from your community. If you are able to beef up your response rates, SMS will help you learn more about where your company stands right now. Your analytics should help you with goal setting, understanding your business as it stands, and figuring out where you want it to be.